To many people, God is a 911 call. Emergencies only. Last resort when all else fails.
God does promise protection in a time of storm, but turning to God only in dire distress is both ignoble and unsafe. We saw it at the time of 9-11. There was an immediate call on God, a glimmer of faith, as if God was welcome and wanted in their thoughts. But the glow of faith faded fast when the peril was gone.
It may be only legend, but it is said that when the Titanic was sinking, some on the doomed ship were singing “Nearer My God to Thee,” when only hours before it was all merriment and dancing and glee. God had no place in their hearts.
We have all heard or even known of those who, seriously ill, vowed great things for God if they recovered. But unfortunately, those who followed through after recovery have been few and far between.
It is the old story, described well by the cynical couplet,
The devil was sick, the devil a monk would be.
The devil was well, … and that was another story.
God has stated plainly that if we disregard His call when skies are clear, He will not be able to hear us above the roar of the storm.
Proverbs 1 is plain and to the point. The voice of heavenly Wisdom is speaking for God.
Proverbs 1:20–21 20Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares. 21She cries out in the chief concourses, At the openings of the gates in the city She speaks her words:
God has been calling, calling, giving opportunity to any wherever one would hear. But so few have open ears.
To whom is God appealing?
Proverbs 1:22–23 22“How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, And fools hate knowledge.
He is calling “simple ones.” Who are they? The meaning of “simple” is “naïve,…showing lack of wisdom and understanding, yet having some capacity to change this condition” (DBL). Many are open to anything that comes along, and will easily believe a lie if it sounds convincing enough.
That is why God’s laws and God’s authority are scorned, disbelieved, even defied. Yet they do have the ability to understand and change, as the next verse indicates. Wisdom pleads:
Proverbs 1:22–23 23Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.
“Turn!” God would not tell them to “turn” if they could not. It is a turn He will reward. It is a promise. As it is phrased in the ESV:
Proverbs 1:23 (ESV) 23If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit [knowledge, words of life] to you; I will make my words known to you.
God will make His knowledge known wherever one will use it. That is His promise.
But what is the reality?
Proverbs 1:24–25 24Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, 25Because you disdained all my counsel, And would have none of my rebuke,
When we get a call, there are at least 3 possibilities:
1- We don’t answer the call. The caller may say to himself, I’ll call again later. Maybe they were busy, or didn’t hear it, or for some reason couldn’t answer at that moment.
2- The call wasn’t successful. Poor connection, or reception failure? For some reason it was cut short. Trouble on the line?
3- We get a call and REFUSE it. This shows the problem is deep. We don’t WANT the call. We REJECT it. We tell our phone to BLOCK that caller. The caller gets the message that he is OUT. We don’t WANT His call.
This is the way Israel treated God. Over and over again. God says,
25…you disdained all my counsel, And would have none of my rebuke,
Disdain is a strong word. It means God was willfully SHUT OUT.
Fast forward. Then STOP. Trouble. A 911 call goes up to God. What is God’s response?
Proverbs 1:26–27 26I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes, 27When your terror comes like a storm, And your destruction comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you.
No answer. He turns off the ringer. He sees the call come, but has no intention of answering it. It is as if He said, What do they want of Me?
Think of God laughing at our calamity, mocking at us when terror hits us “like a storm,” when we are in distress and anguish. Can you imagine a more dismal peril? At such a time, where is there any help but in God?
It is a situation we want to AVOID. And we CAN avoid. That is why this is written in our guidebook.
Many false shepherds have tried to picture God as always kind, merciful, and compassionate, whatever we do. But they close their eyes to the facts. God is looking for OUR devotion, OUR loyalty, OUR love. He wants our heart, and He wants it NOW. He is not just emergency relief. He is not 911. His interest is in those who are interested in Him. He responds to us as we respond to Him. What did the Psalmist say?
Psalm 18:25–26 25With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless; 26With the pure You will show Yourself pure; And with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd.
Paul added this comment:
2 Timothy 2:12 12If we… deny Him, He also will deny us.
What did Paul write to the Romans?
Romans 11:22 22Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
It was a long standing principle of the Almighty. This was stated to Eli about his wayward sons:
1 Samuel 2:30 30Therefore the Lord God of Israel says: ‘… those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.
God does not have honor for those who refuse His counsel and His guidance.
Back to Proverbs 1, God says, “Because I have called and you refused,…” what then? Continuing with Proverbs 1:28,
Proverbs 1:28–30 28“Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.
What is the problem?
29Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the Lord,
Wrong attitude, wrong choice. They HATED what they should have LOVED. They did not choose the fear of the Lord.
What is the “fear of the Lord”?
Proverbs 8:13 13The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.
Living by God’s law of life changes us from the inside out. It lifts us above the level of the instincts, above ourselves and the things we naturally want, to belong to His family.
We want to say, “Lord, this isn’t ‘me.’” But we must remember,
Psalm 84:11 11For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.
Everything He denies us is something we are better off without!
It is not natural to like something that goes against our nature, that crosses us, that pulls us out of our comfort zone. But God isn’t about making us comfortable. It is about re-making us into material He can use in His coming “new” world, where all will be peace and joy and happiness.
Instead of hating God’s knowledge we must take his rebuke, turn around and hate the things God hates: “evil, pride, arrogance, …the perverse mouth” if we want God to help us.
Otherwise, where will we be?
Proverbs 1:30–31 30They would have none of my counsel And despised my every rebuke. 31Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, And be filled to the full with their own fancies.
Remember, God has promised to reward just according to what we do.
It is a problem that we can remedy NOW. Why should we not WELCOME God’s counsel—when it is all for our good, for our ETERNAL good?
God is offering so much, even more than we can ask or imagine.
Ephesians 3:20 20Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.
Let the dream fill your heart! What would you ask for? What would you imagine? It will be exceedingly abundantly ABOVE all this!
Why do we close out God’s demands? Why not welcome ANYTHING He allows, realizing it is all for our good–ETERNALLY!
If we can get inside the gate to LIFE, we will have NO REGRET! What a new world it will be! without covid-19, without any fear of terror or revenge, without any profiteering, or greed, or selfishness, or contention or war; where all the heroes will be heroes of faith, all upholding God’s great cause, all working for His great cause!
It will be the Kingdom COME, God’s will done “on earth as it is in heaven.”
How can we possibly DO enough, GIVE enough, SACRIFICE enough to BE THERE! Can we wonder why Paul said,
Romans 8:18 18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Remember that paraphrase of 1 Cor. 2:9, that
“mortal eye has never seen,
mortal ear has never heard, mortal heart has never imagined the things God has prepared for those who love Him.”